Written by Sid Fleischman
Reviewed by Allison W. (age 10)
This book is about the legendary gold rush bandin Wakkin. The main characters were Anyrose and Wakkin.
The story starts when Anyrose, her brother Lanky and her mother are making their way to California when their mother dies. After that, Lanky's identification papers and map of a gold vein next to a creek are stolen. Then Anyrose sprains her ankle. Lanky leaves her in O.O. Mary's care promising to send a wagon as soon as possible. First, O.O. Mary is sweet as pie. Then after Lanky left, she sold Anyrose's dress, petticoats, violin and even her long yellow hair. O.O. Mary was a common thief. She sold anything that came into her hands.
Anyrose is dressed in a boy's cast-off clothing. O.O. Mary was hiding Wakkin's old enemy. He had flaming red hair and a thick neck. One day, Wakkin came by, yelling insults at his old enemy. O.O. Mary had long since fled with Wakkin's old enemy. Anyrose told him not to shoot her. Wakin told her to run away. "Didn't she know who he was?"
Wakkin took Anyrose along so she could teach him how to read. That way, he could read about whomever was chasing him and how much money was being offered for his capture.
Anyrose did not tell Wakkin that she was a girl till much later. Anyrose had many adventures with Wakkin and his gang. She even handed in Wakkin's scarf and gun to the newspaper man saying that Three-Fingered Jack killed Wakkin with six gunshots.
In the end, Wakkin levaes Anyrose. She never sees him again. An imposter is shot and killed. Mysteriously, all reports on robberies committed by Wakkin stopped after that.
I think Wakkin showed off too much. He showed off his reading skills to his friends but he also made good use of it. He used his reading skills to prove he was a gentleman to escape from being hanged. He read Anyrose's respite book to prove he wasn't Wakkin the legendary gold rush thief who had blood up to his elbows.
Wakkin was way too trustful. He trusted too many people.
If I could change this book, I would first have given more facts in the story. Then I would not have Anyrose go back on Wakin who gave her a horse, gold and protection. I would also have Anyrose not be so vain. She bought new dressed and shoes first thing when she had a chance.
I recommend this book because it is very interesting. It has an unusual title for the story.Wakkin uses a number of smart ways to survive. Wakkin always seemed coll because he said his destiny was to hang from an oak tree. No matter what trouble he was in, he never lost control.